New PCC vote ‘to cost £1.6m’ – Home Office

South Yorks Police Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright
South Yorks Police Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright
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Electing a new Police and Crime Commissioner next month to replace Shaun Wright is to cost taxpayers an estimated £1.66 million, the Home Office has said.

The election will take place on Thursday, October 30, and follows Mr Wright’s resignation earlier this week, 21 days after the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal was made public.

Home Secretary Theresa May

Home Secretary Theresa May

The costs of organising the election will be covered by the Home Office.

A spokesman for the Home Office said the 2012 election in South Yorkshire had cost £1.66m to run, and the bill for the new by-election is expected to be ‘something similar’.

Mr Wright was elected into position in November 2012 after he received 51.35 per cent of the vote on an overall voter turnout of 14.53 per cent.

Mr Wright, who had been a councillor in Rotherham with responsibility for children’s services between 2005 and 2010, resigned this week after three weeks of intense pressure following the publication of the Jay report which described how 1,400 children were sexually exploited between 1997 and 2013.

At a meeting yesterday The South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel selected Steve Pick, chief finance officer for the PCC’s office, to take the post on an interim basis until the election .

The nomination period for candidates will close in two weeks, at 4pm on Friday, October 3, with South Yorkshire’s main political parties saying today they are still deciding whether to run.

Mr Wright’s former deputy, Tracey Cheetham, who stepped down in the wake of the report’s publication after Mr Wright initially refused to resign, had also stood for the interim post – but was rejected in favour of Mr Pick.

After the meeting, Ms Cheetham ruled herself out of standing as Labour’s candidate for the election.

She said: “It was right for me to agree that the panel could consider me as interim PCC, but also probably right I wasn’t appointed. Steve Pick will do a good job as interim PCC. I’ve known him for many years and there is no safer pair of hands. I told the panel prior to the meeting that I would not be seeking selection as the Labour candidate in the by-election.”

Sheffield MP David Blunkett, who is standing down at the end of the current Parliament, immediately ruled himself out of the running this week.

A spokesman for Labour said it is the ‘intention’ of the party to put forward a candidate, but the timetable for selecting someone is yet to be finalised.

The Liberal Democrats have said they are still deciding whether to stand in the election. It follows party leader Nick Clegg calling for PCCs to be abolished.

A spokesman for UKIP said ‘no decision has been made’ on whether the party will be putting forward a candidate, but discussions are taking place.

No-one from the Conservative Party was available for comment.